Facing the music

Though I taught Science for a living, I lived every moment of my life loving music.

“Are you the music teacher?” The tone was stern and firm and the message loud and clear. “No, sir,” I replied in a soft and feeble voice. It was supposed to be so for I knew, and so did everyone else, that I was talking to the boss of my boss.

“What business do you have here if you aren’t the music teacher?” I had no answer. My boss, by my side but surely not on my side, nudged me. His message, too, was loud and clear. I had to shut my mouth like an obedient subordinate.

“Should I tell you to make way for the music teacher?” The voice, this time, was threatening and the message frightening. Another nudge from my boss made me rush to where the other teachers were standing. While I stood like a thief for a theft that I hadn’t committed, the chief of mischief, my boss, played the good boy before his boss.

Music was in my blood. Though I taught Science for a living, I lived every moment of my life loving music. I sang  film songs of the yesteryears when people asked me to. Often, I played some musical instruments too. But I never let my love for music come in the way of discharging my duties as a teacher.

The headmaster, would often employ me in music classes when the music teacher was on leave, and would ask me to teach patriotic songs. The music teacher never felt bad about my stepping into his shoes for he was wise enough to understand that there was a fellow to take care of his classes in his absence. Besides, he was saved the trouble of having to answer the boss’s objection to the classes going without a music teacher.

The rise of my fall started when the music teacher got a transfer and I was given the additional charge of his classes. I was asked to do the extra mile and also given a brief lecture on its advantages. Young and naive as I was, it wasn’t a tough job at all for him to make me accept the new assignment. I enjoyed a celebrity status in the school.

I knew I was finding it difficult to do the balancing act of handling my regular classes which involved periodical evaluation of students’ performance in addition to teaching and the extra music classes, but my passion and the love and affection children showered on me made me consider it worth doing.

The new music teacher, who joined a few months later, asserted his right to earn his bread. I was no thief to rob him of his bread but the boss insisted that I continue to do certain tasks related to music. The denouement came when I, and not the music teacher, was sent to a local music festival to represent the sch­ool. He complained against me to boss’s boss about my interference in his duty.

“I heard you are there everywhere in the school except your class,” a comment that I did not deserve kept haunting me till I left the school. I learnt a lesson, a costly lesson, and vowed never to sing again. I know what I have lost and what I have gained but I am yet to know whether the gain is worth the loss.

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